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How will the ideas forum work?

Created: 29 May 2009 | 5 comments
EdT's picture
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The big disadvantage I see is that as soon as the number of postings rolls over for more than a couple of pages, no one is going to have the time and inclination to go through several hundred postings to see if their idea is already there. Neither will browsing techies have the time to consider the merit of each one of several hundred, or maybe several thousand postings.

So is someone going to provide an index of ideas? Is someone going to identify duplicate ideas and merge them together?

Will some kind of "sorting" activity be possible - so that users can quickly identify past ideas for a specific product?

Also, no mention has been made of how the ideas aspect will actually work. At what point will an idea move from being just an idea, to being a definite "include" in the next version of the product release? 20 votes? 1000 votes?  At what point will an ancient idea be purged out of the list, or moved to an "implemented" category?

At the moment, the ideas forum comes over as very poorly thought out - left to its own devices, it will just become a long list of uncontrolled content which will in all probability be totally impossible to analyse quantitatively, and thus will be ignored by Symantec Marketing, and also product development - if they are even aware of it.

So would whoever thought of this, please put some meat on the bones of their idea, and tell us in detail how it will work in practice, and how it will be managed.
Otherwise, I fear we will all be wasting our time, as it will end up as a "gripes" repository.

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bhawver's picture

It's already got way too many posts to really go through.  It truly is difficult to find if an idea has been posted or not.  I agree it will definitely turn into a "gripes" repository if something isn't done rather quickly to clean it up/fix it.

Also, continuing down that path, the fact that there already so many ideas will ensure that any particular idea will not get the appropriate votes that it will need to move forward as most people that frequent this community have full time jobs and don't have the time to read through every post, idea or comment.

Some ideas might be to categorize the ideas more clearly.  Also to have a Symantec employee regularly go through and clean up any duplicate ideas (i.e. merge the ideas and votes into one) on a daily or twice daily schedule.

I think just by doing that you would be meeting us half way at least and would spark more constructive feedback on your products. 

Brian Hawver
Systems Engineer
Yaskawa America, Inc.

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bhawver's picture

The sorting leaves a bit to be desired.  There doesn't appear to be any order to how the ideas are sorted.  It would be nice to have a read/unread feature similar to the forums.  If I hadn't seen Ed's message pop up in the community feeds section along the right hand side of the screen, I would have never seen it.  If that can't be done, then it would be nice to have the ideas sorted by date posted.

Brian Hawver
Systems Engineer
Yaskawa America, Inc.

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ianatkin's picture

 I too feel this ideas area is getting swamped, and there is little clarity on the mechanics of how ideas posted here get noticed/actioned.

Critically, searching does not appear to work for ideas at the moment, so you have to delve through each idea before posting. For instance a search on "Novell Client  and Power Control" does not bring up my gripe/idea about "Novell Client and Power Control in Deployment Solution"

Also, if the idea of this area is to provide a conduit for product managers, why not segment immediately by product? Users are generally thinking about an idea pertaining to a product, so it seems odd that there is no structure in place to reflect this.

Whatever happens, I think something needs to be done fairly rapidly before the ideas section becomes a black hole.

Kind Regards,
Ian./

 

Ian Atkin, IT Services, Oxford University, UK

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.peter's picture

Hey guys - wanted to answer a few questions that have been posted here.  For starters, I'll give you a little background into how "Ideas" was started.  We noticed that a lot of ideas were being submitted in the forums or in the blog area.  Since they weren't differentiated from questions they were almost immediately buried and not visible to product managers at all.  Ideas (while not perfect) is a way to bring those ideas to the forefront.  We've talked with product managers and they are excited to review the ideas submitted here on a regular basis because now they have their own area and they have some capability of seeing how many people want a given idea. Now, on to some of your specific questions:

EdT - Regarding the review process - Product Managers review ideas regularly.  They get seen, I promise.  However, there will be no defined moment when an idea has enough votes to make it into a product.  There are far too many other factors that determine when a feature should come out (how much development would it take, does it agree with the strategic direction of the product and the company, will it affect other features already in the product, are there legal or competitive issues with releasing that feature).  The number of votes is simply another data point (a good data point) that our product managers are excited to review.  But it would be impossible (and unwise) for them to "guarantee" a feature will be introduced after a set number of votes.

They will comment and set the status of an idea from time to time when they can share with confidence what the status of an idea is.  However, just because they don't comment on an idea does not mean they haven't seen it.  There are a lot of ideas to review and they can't comment on every single one.

bhawver - Regarding sort.  As mentioned in the blog post introducing ideas, they are sorted by ideas that are "Popular Now" which is an algorithm that calculates the ideas that have the most activity recently - this keeps the idea list fresh and allows you to see newly submitted ideas.  In addition, you can change the sort behavior to show newly submitted ideas, ideas with the most recent comment or the most popular ideas of all time. 

ianatkin - Regarding segmentation by product.  Some people strongly prefer segmenting by product, others would prefer a view across product lines.  Therefore, we are offering both.  If you want to segment by product, go to "all of Connect" click on "ideas" and click on your product.  Or click on the community name to segment by product line.  Searching - this is a known issue.  We are working on a vastly improved search with a much better index and advanced search options.  Look for more details in the next week or two.

Thanks for your feedback - we already have lots of ways we are planning on improving ideas, but I hope you'll agree that what we have now is a step in the right direction.

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bhawver's picture

Thanks for the response.  The biggest issue that I personally would focus on is continual cleanup of the ideas area.  I'm positive there are duplicates out there because of a few reasons (1.  the newness of the ideas area will have people posting ideas before they find the idea they were looking for, 2.  searching doesn't always work very well on here...I know, I know...work in progress and 3.  some people don't search before posting, ever).  The cleanup, I would think would be pretty important not only to clear up duplicates, but to give everyone a real idea of how popular their idea really is (via votes).

Yes, I would agree it is a definite step in the right direction and is better than just a simple form that submits ideas to a blackhole and doesn't allow anyone else to look at it. 

Brian Hawver
Systems Engineer
Yaskawa America, Inc.

Connect Etiquette: "Mark as Solution" those posts which resolve your problem, and give a thumbs up to useful comments, articles and downloads.

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